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“The country through which we passed today was diversified…”

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Revelstoker, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. Revelstoker

    Revelstoker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    247
    Location:
    Revelstoke, BC
    Let's go to Luckenbach Texas with Waylon and Willie and the boys
    This successful life we're livin' got us feuding
    like the Hatfield and McCoys
    Between Hank Williams pain songs, Newberry's train songs
    and blue eyes cryin' in the rain out in Luckenbach Texas
    ain't nobody feelin' no pain

    Waylon Jennings

    Another day, another GPS shot.
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    We awoke this morning with a couple things on our minds; food and gas. We had been sort of counting on Pietown for both and got neither. We figured we’d have to go off track when we hit State Highway 12 and head West for Aragon as it was a long haul South to the nearest town.
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    So West we headed. Aragon sucks – it is about 25km off of track and they had no gas. It looks like they’ve not had gas for awhile. We headed further West. Now we were about 40km (each way) off track. The GPS was telling us that Apache Creek had services – it didn’t. Next spot to try and get gas was Reserve – another 20kms! Now we were 120km’s off track. At least Reserve had a very nice spot for breakfast.
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    So, after a few cups of coffee, a pancake special and a tank of gas, we were back on the road. Ella's is a good spot.
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    We thought we’d take a shortcut which in retrospect wasn’t a great idea. Even with GPS we went in a big circle. Not a lot of pictures were taken except this one – if my finger had been a gun I probably would have pulled the trigger. So, not only had we gone way out of the way in search of gas, but we'd added another extra 100km's or so in a fruitless loop.
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    It was this sign that threw us off. We should have followed common sense and the GPS, but we saw this CDT sign and figured that the best route didn’t show up on US Topo.
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    Finally back on track.
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    Anyway, we’re back on track here and for only the second time on the trip so far are feeling compelled to bring out the wet weather gear as it was starting to look nasty out.
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    Shortly after donning the gear, we had a Divide Crossing Team Shot.
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    There were a fair number of crossings today.
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    Ditchside artsy flower shot.
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    Another section that we were thankful that it wasn't pissing rain - we had just the right amount; enough that the there was no dust, but not enough to make it as soft as when these ruts were made!
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    Drizzle finally stopped and it started to get muggy - time to strip down.
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    Gary couldn't get enough riding today!
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    I think that the 640 qualifies.
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    Riding The Geronimo Trail - the horse in the background was a curious little guy. He was very intent on getting a view of whatever it was I was doing.
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    I had seen Gary part the water through puddles before, but never a tree!
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    Today’s ride was all about diversity. We started off in the pine forests near the campground, then we were into the grassy plains and then onto multiple canyons with switchbacks up and then down in the Gila National Forest.
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    After riding FR150 for what seemed like hours, we turned left onto State Highway 35 for 15km’s or so down to Mimbres. Right where you turn onto the highway is actually a Divide crossing. The paved road into Mimbres is actually quite a fun ride. What I really remember about this section, and most paved ‘off the main route’ pieces in New Mexico, was how friendly drivers were – just about everyone waved.
    From HWY35 we did a little zigzag and headed into Silver City, NM on Highway 180. I had read that Silver City was a cool spot, but we hit it around dinner and really didn’t see any of it other than what was on the highway. We went for a burger and shake at MacDonald's – Gary was not impressed with tonight's selection, but it was quick. And quick was necessary a storm, a big storm, was rolling in.
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    There is 30km’s of pavement to get out of Silver City which is perfect as it gets you out just that much faster. After 20 minutes, we turned left off the highway and headed Southwest into the heart of the Chihuahuan Desert. The vegetation had drastically changed now to a forest of tall yucca plants.
    We picked a very secluded spot to set up the tents – actually close to main dirt road we had been following, but on the otherside of a knoll that parallels the road. We raced to set up the tents. If my tent had not been staked down and had all my gear in it, I’m sure it would have ended up in Kansas. According to US Topo, we camped right on The Continental Divide!
    Camp Gary.
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    Looks like I'd had the chance to use pretty much all the travel in the front suspension at some point today.
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    Eventually I fell asleep knowing that tomorrow we’d be in Antelope Wells.
    #41
  2. Deadly99

    Deadly99 Fast and Far

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12,525
    Location:
    Merrickville, Canada
    :lurk
    #42
  3. redpillar

    redpillar Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    904
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    I am having a blast reading your story. Thanks
    #43
  4. Revelstoker

    Revelstoker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    247
    Location:
    Revelstoke, BC
    Down every road there's always one more city
    I'm on the run, the highway is my home

    Merle Haggard

    Gary and I were practicing ‘taking only memories and leaving only tread prints’ camping…not that anyone will ever camp here again though! I was awoken a few times with blinding flashes of light and a thunderous roar and it wasn't Gary snoring this time. Absolutely amazing storm had rolled through overnight leaving it surprisingly chilly.
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    Morning GPS – not too far until 5000km from home.
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    Looking South through the Chihuahuan Desert.
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    Nice flowers in an inhospitable place.
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    Continuing along the dirt road to Separ, NM , we came along another old abandoned ranch house the deserved a good look around. Except for the lizards to be seen everywhere, this place hadn’t been lived in for a year or two.
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    Just before Separ, we took this picture – it was really the last of the dirt for us on The Great Divide Route as we would be on one of the loneliest paved roads in America – Highway 81. Starting to feel bittersweet at this point – the end is near.
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    Hit the 5000km mark…well, just a little over. 86 and a half hours of riding. I am having a good Summer!
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    The last time we would cross officially cross The Divide on the trip South (we would bag a couple of more crossings in the next day or so though).
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    I am buying myself an official tripod from now on. My XD3 did a good job, but it was a pain in the ass sometimes to get the camera balanced and at the right angle.
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    We pulled into Hachita to find out that not a lot goes on there anymore. Where did everyone go? So many of these little towns appear to have been abandoned. No gas, no food, no liquor and no more church.
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    Border Patrol trucks are everywhere! I was surprised at how many we saw driving and how many were parked with empty trailers (they’d obviously unloaded Quads and were in the backcountry).
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    Self portrait at 90km/h.
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    We're getting close to the border - US Topo is done.
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    Straight shot down to the border which we hit at 10:30 or so. Our original plan was to ride on through into the nearest Mexican town, have a shot of tequila and lunch, but it was still 100km further South. The border closes at 4:00pm (so we would spent the night on the Mexican side), the US Customs folks we were speaking to were telling us a recent horror story and money hungry Mexican Officials all conspired to make it so that we hung out at the border and didn’t go much further. The Mexican Officials didn’t like the fact that Canada had just instituted a visa requirement for Mexicans visiting Canada – so they thought they’d require one from us in the form of 500 pesos each. I don’t think in the whole scheme of things that that is alot of money, but I wasn’t interested.
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    Not quite Puerto Vallarta - Gary at the border.
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    Half in/half out.
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    We hung out with Officer Balderson and his dog for about an hour and when we went leave we were treated to an assortment of Popsicles! This was quite a different experience than I had ever had at a border before. I was remembering Roosville only two weeks prior when we were reprimanded for taking a picture!
    Officer Balderson and me at the 'posing wall'.
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    Officer Balderson's dog.
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    Watch out for snakes and that steel fence in the background!
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    GPS shot at the border.
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    Last team photo on The Great Divide Trail.
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    We finished our Popsicles and hit the road.
    The Great Divide Route was complete...and what a great ride it was.
    Gary & I were still speaking, our bikes were still running well and we still had two weeks to get back to Canada.

    To be continued...

    Teaser shots of what is to come.
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    #44
  5. Leeb17

    Leeb17 Let's ride !

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    44
    Location:
    Bend, OR
    :clap :clap :clap Simply awesome. Thanks for taking us along.
    #45
  6. Mo-Tarded

    Mo-Tarded Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Show Low, AZ, USA
    I am SOOOOOO ready to do this ! ...or something like this ! ...in one direction or another. Hell, I'm even ready to be lost somewhere ! :clap
    #46
  7. Revelstoker

    Revelstoker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    247
    Location:
    Revelstoke, BC

    Thanks for your kind words. It has been a pleasure to complete the first half of this Ride Report...standby for the rest. Cheers,
    #47
  8. tokenboy

    tokenboy Gnirly Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2003
    Oddometer:
    641
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Can't wait for the rest. Just last week I was talking to some riding buddies, saying we should do the GDT and western TAT next year in one loop...looks like I'll be book marking this report for future reference.
    #48
  9. rallybug

    rallybug Local Yokel

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2002
    Oddometer:
    8,097
    Location:
    North Salt Lake, UT
    Great report, Revel - some stunnnig pictures too :thumb
    #49
  10. B-Rod

    B-Rod RubberNecker

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,428
    Location:
    Alberta
    [​IMG]

    Loving the report. I'm doing a quick skim, but am saving it for when I have more time. Can't get enough orange.

    See what I mean?

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    #50
  11. Lav1200

    Lav1200 Pig Pen

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,631
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    I'm guessing you opted to skip the Lava Mtn trail between Helena and Basin?

    I love the photos of the Great Divide Basin (just before Rawlins)... incredible country.

    Great trip report - brings back some nice memories of my GDR in '07. Can't wait to read about the TAT.

    Cheers,
    Andy
    #51
  12. Holaday

    Holaday Man of Leisure

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    755
    Location:
    Vancouver's North Shore, B.C.
    More please :D
    #52
  13. GP640

    GP640 Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,692
    Location:
    NW AB
    He's probably out playing in the snow.

    More report wouldn't be a bad thing for us in the sub-zero already.
    #53
  14. Revelstoker

    Revelstoker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    247
    Location:
    Revelstoke, BC
    #54
  15. Bartron

    Bartron 'Tenacious B' the Bike Punisher

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    788
    Location:
    Alberta
    I thought riding with me was quite a reasonable excuse - especially in light of the cigars and porto.
    #55
  16. pyrate

    pyrate Walking the plank

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,255
    Location:
    SoCal
    Thanks so much for the RR and taking the time to take all the pics. :bow I have been thinking about riding the TAT but I am really digging the CDT RR and that you are in mountains 99% of the time.

    It looks like the cycling book was a great resource. Did you use other maps as well? Any notes on those? I have the same GPS - which software were you using? The ones I have are to help the soccer mom get to the mall , not find dirt tracks around the mountains and would never help re-route for the occasional closed gate. :cromag

    I have the same Marmot tent. Thoughts? I have used it a few times and I am not fond of the way the door zips where you have to crawl over it and that the rain fly doesn't cover the door enough when opening it in the rain (water drips inside the tent - d'oh). Other than that - it is a great tent.
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    #56
  17. Revelstoker

    Revelstoker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    247
    Location:
    Revelstoke, BC

    The Adventure Cycling book is great - I highly recommend it to anyone doing the route. I used Big Dog and Python's gpx tracks, but there were definitely more than a few times I deviated and followed the book. I found that Gary & I, with the 640's, had a greater fuel range and thus could avoid some of the extra pavement others have taken in order to remain topped up. It only bit us in the ass once where we really had to divert to find fuel. Other than these gpx routes and the book, I had to use nothing else. It really is pretty straight forward...the TAT on the other hand is not!
    I like my Marmot tent. It has remained waterproof and has held together well. The only issue I have with it is that it really stands out. I'd rather have something in a color that blends in with the environment. Generally we camped in spots that were off the beaten track, but even then I'd liked to have been invisible if I could help it. My friend Bartron just bought a Big Agnes - the color is perfect.
    The tent is pretty warm as well with the construction. I was surprised last weekend to have the amount of frost and ice build up as there was!
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    I had US Topo loaded into the Garmin - this was totally sufficient. It always blows me away what shows up on US, and Canada Topo for that matter, but it sometimes blows me away what doesn't show up!
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    #57
  18. anglerdon

    anglerdon Senior Coot

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    Northern California
    Congrats on a fine ride report. Thanks for sharing.
    I rode my C-14 from the San Francisco Bay area to Revelstoke in August. We entered at Roosville and made a loop down to Kaslo, Nelson and crossed back at Nelway.
    Love your country.
    #58
  19. pyrate

    pyrate Walking the plank

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,255
    Location:
    SoCal
    I know what you mean. Stealth camping Marmot is not. What I will really like is a Hillberg tent but those are $$. Almost all are deep green. It always amazes me how something you want for one thing doesn't always work for something else. Backpacking - the orange of the Marmot is a good thing in case you were ever in trouble. On a motorcycle it can tend to get you into trouble. :deal I tend to set up camp just as the sun goes down for that reason. You just hope the weather and bugs cooperate.

    Thanks for the info. This is definitely on my to do list now. :ricky Thanks for all the great pics! I even gave it a rating! :super:super:super
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    #59
  20. Revelstoker

    Revelstoker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    247
    Location:
    Revelstoke, BC
    Well it's floodin' down in Texas
    All of the telephone lines are down
    Yeah you know I've been tryin' to call my baby
    Lord and I can't get a single sound
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Stevie Ray Vaughan

    Now where did we leave off...
    The Great Divide Route was complete.
    But our ride was not over. We turned North, put our head&#8217;s down, turned up the iPod, and started the two day trip to Durango, Colorado so that we could hop on The Trans America Trail and head West.
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    This crossing is a bonus as it wasn't really planned - we sort of stumbled upon it as we headed West. As you can see, Gary took this shot of me.
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    When we rolled back into Hachita, instead of heading North we continued East on Highway 9 until we arrived in Animas. Here we refueled with the usual high octane for bike & man and met a gentleman cowboy. Howard was born and raised in Animas on the property his grandfather had homesteaded in the 1800&#8217;s. Howard was convinced that Animas, NM was hell. He said that all the wells he had dug over the years all spewed hot water &#8211; where ales but in Hell could that happen?
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    From Animas we headed up through Cotton, NM to Interstate 10. We were really improvising &#8211; more or less just scaling out the GPS and finding any road that would take us North. We found a beauty! This one took us through the Doubtful Canyon along side the South Alkali Flats. It was muddy &#8211; we really had our first taste of what it is like to ride in NM when it is wet.
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    The low fender on Gary&#8217;s 640 was problematic. All told, he spent way too much time cleaning the mud out in an effort to make the front wheel turn.
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    Things eventually started to dry out and the riding became a little less stressful. The odd gate to stop at, lots of barbwire and great vegetation. Another gratuitous bike shot - it really is a lovely machine!
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    After a couple of hours of this we thought we might hit some pavement. And we are glad that we did! Highway 78 cutting the eastern portion of Arizona rocks! The pictures say it all.
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    I was getting really tired of the centerstand - this guardrail was perfect.
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    Close up of that cactus.
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    This was a stellar piece of pavement. We had to stop and worship it.
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    Our luck today was pretty darned good and hitting the The Blue Front Bar and Café seals the deal! We ate like Kings, had a few beers and the bill still only came out to $40.00. Highly recommended.
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    From the Blue Front, we continued East to just outside of Reserve (where we had refueled a few days prior) and found a great camp spot. We were camped at a watering hole for cattle that ran on solar power hence the panels. Very nice and quiet up there.
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    Gary's lid on that post reminds me of some tribal voodoo thing.
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    #60